Long bone with postmortem damage. (Source: Smithsonian Institution)
The popular television series Bones has inspired great interest in forensic anthropology. Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide take you inside the real world of forensic investigations. They lay out their evidence in cases dating from the earliest English settlement in America to modern times. Educator Robert Costello will be on hand to show how one case—a four-hundred-year-old murder mystery—has been adapted into an entertaining “webcomic” for classroom learning.
Doug Owsley joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as a curator in 1987 and has served since 1990 as the Division Head for Physical Anthropology. He is engaged in forensic anthropology case work, assisting state and federal law enforcement agencies on cases such as Jeffrey Dahmer’s first victim, recovery and identification of Waco Branch Davidian compound members, and the Pentagon plane crash. Although his research covers a number of areas, he is currently focused on human skeletal remains from the 17th-century Chesapeake. Owsley received a B.S. from the University of Wyoming and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.
Kari Bruwelheide received a B.A. from Luther College and an M.A. in physical anthropology from the University of Nebraska in 1992. Since 1992, she has worked at the Smithsonian as a physical anthropologist, bioarchaeologist, and forensic anthropologist with an emphasis on forensic examination of modern and historic remains including skeletal studies of 17th and 18th-century American colonists, iron coffin burials, and Civil War military remains. She has assisted Doug Owsley with high-profile forensic cases, and her research is currently focused on human skeletal remains found in the Chesapeake region of Virginia and Maryland from the early colonial period.
Robert Costello uses multimedia products to communicate the relevance of the Museum’s scientific research and collections to the public, and principally to education audiences. He also produces professional development programs for teachers. He has wide-ranging curriculum design experience from twelve years of teaching math and science in secondary and postsecondary institutions and from conducting assessments. He has written on topics in science education, evolutionary biology, and instructional design and taken part in scientific expeditions in the Andes, Rockies, and to the North Atlantic seafloor, where he learned to trust technology. He received a B.A. from Southern Illinois University and an M.A. from Hunter College (CUNY).